Roslyn Bresnick–Perry

Photograph as used on the storyteller’s website.

Roslyn Bresnick–Perry

We at the Storytelling Center sadly note the passing of our friend, Roslyn Bresnick–Perry, who died on August 7th. A memorial gathering will take place on Wednesday evening, November 11th (7:30 p.m.) at Manhattan Plaza. (Please check our Calendar for the details.)

And now, some words from fellow teller Gerald Fierst:

Dear Roz,

This is a thank you note for all the joy, adventure, and love, you shared with me, with your friends, with your storytelling colleagues, and your audiences.

I met you thirty years ago. I will never forget the night. Our dear friend Peninnah Schram was starting the Jewish Storytelling Center at the 92nd Street Y. It was an awful rainy night, but I had told Peninnah that I would come, and I felt obliged to do so. How lucky for me that I did. So much of my future life evolved from that night as did yours.

You had just finished your degree, having gone back to college in your sixties. Until 65, you were a designer in the fashion district, but now you were embarking on a new career as storyteller, writer, and folklorist. We became instant friends. Of course, I had to share you with your fans — whether at the National Storytelling Festival where you appeared multiple times telling stories from your childhood in Belarus, or to storytelling festivals and conferences across the country where your repertoire expanded to Naughty Bawdy Tales. Your books are on my shelf, but no page could capture the delight and laughter and play you brought to your telling.

You and I had a yearly date to visit our family plots at the Beth David Cemetery in Elmwood. Once you opened your arms wide and led me in a waltz. “There,” you said, “now we have danced on our graves.” How we laughed at the irreverence. And now I will visit you, and when I do, I will remember what you told me just a month ago; you said, “My life really started when I went back to school.” Your life really started when despite your dyslexia you were given the chance to learn, write, talk, and flower. O how you flowered. What a wonderful lesson for all of us on our own potential to discover and renew our story.

Roslyn Bresnick–Perry, you were a grand lady. I will miss you. You shared such humanity, so many memories, and so much laughter. What greater legacy could anyone leave to friends.

May your memory be a blessing.

Your friend,

Roslyn, who died August 7th, 2015 (the day before her 93rd birthday), was born on August 8, 1922, in the shtetl of Wysokie–Litewsk, now known as Vysokaye and located on the southwest border of Belarus.